IEBC caught up in Sh1 Billion scandal

IEBC is also set to conduct fresh by-elections after losing several cases.

A report submitted to parliament two weeks ago by the Auditor-General Edward Ouko exposed the decision by the electoral Commission to pay 68 lawyers who represented it in petitions in 2013 General Election Sh1 billion more than they were initially owed.

Mr Ouko in the latest report said that IEBC in 2014, then led by Isaac Hassan, said that it owed the advocates Sh1 billion, but a scrutiny of the fees showed that the lawyers had already been paid Sh2.14 billion. This meant already there was an extra Sh1 billion paid out.

“The commission has not provided documentary evidence of cases represented and payments thereof to justify and support payments in excess of recorded pending bills,” Mr Ouko said in a report.

Sh586 million debt 

As at June 30, 2013, when the commission was answering audit queries related to the 2012/2013 financial year, the IEBC had said that it owed Sh586 million to the legal team that represented it in the presidential election petition.

The commission also said it owed Sh486 million to lawyers who were arguing its case in the other 188 petitions filed countrywide.

This totals to the Sh1,054,889,115 that the IEBC had listed as pending bills on June 2013, raising questions as to how the figure rose to Sh2 billion that the lawyers were finally paid. Mr Ouko also questioned why the commission failed to get prior approval or concurrence from the Attorney-General before the procurement and payment of the private legal services.

The auditor also established that letters of instructions to the lawyers were signed and owned by the director of legal services and not on behalf of the commission, contrary to the law and the IEBC’s human resources manual.

Further, the IEBC has been accused of paying Sh328m to 30 law firms with no lawful contracts with them, and paying Sh17m to five others not pre-qualified.

IEBC used a battery of lawyers in the 2013 election petition in which President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory was upheld, throwing Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s petition out.

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